Guard Services: The Logistics of Event Security
Today’s world stage comes complete with volatile times and acts of terrorism
- By Corey Meredith
- Aug 07, 2020
On so many levels, 9/11 drastically
altered the event security
landscape. Event security has
evolved from the ‘bouncer’
mentality of yesteryear, which featured security
decked out in yellow jackets emblazoned
with “SECURITY” in block letters
to today’s concierge security professional
which features highly trained security professionals
with access to cutting edge technology
including artificial intelligence.
Event security staff assist from preplanning
stages through post-show wrap-up;
working with the client from start to
finish. Today’s event security team plays a multi-faceted role that includes alcohol
enforcement, audience management, bike
patrol, crowd control, ID checkers, 24-
hour event security, access control, parking
services, red carpet staff, ticket takers, ushers and VIP/talent escort. Event security
professionals wear business attire for
VIP escort and red-carpet events, with
their attire varying accordingly dependent
on what other roles they assume.
Given the world stage we all live on which
includes volatile times and acts of terrorism,
people want to know they are going to events
and venues that are safe and secure. Guests
want to see security at these shows.
Guests are accommodating to waiting
in line for bag checks or pat-downs because
they understand the overall purpose
event security has for mandating these initiatives.
Well-executed event security has
the power to create magical moments and
memorable experiences for live audiences
with safety and security as a first mindset.
Event security is fluid and ever-changing
with crowd movement and dynamics. During
these turbulent times, ensuring the safety
and security of event participants at entertainment
conferences like National Association
of Music Merchants (NAMM or other
high-profile events including the Academy
Awards, NASCAR, NBA or NFL sporting
events demands the use of cutting-edge
technology paired with well-trained, highly
screened security professionals.
Staffing is Critical
Hands-down, employees are the most
valuable assets of any event security company.
It is vitally important for an event security
firm to adhere to strict guidelines for
hiring and training. In addition, the event security’s
management team should be coaches
and mentors to all front-line employees.
Through the combined capabilities of
Allied Universal, our event services division
is now a single-source solution for everything
from temporary staffing, consulting
and security for all events. Our event
services team addresses convention, sporting
and concert events and trade show’s
complex challenges from a security and
Event security staff gravitate to this
sector, often, because they enjoy and
thrive in its multi-faceted and exciting environment.
For example, a senior executive
member of my team, Thushan Rajapaksa, says that he “loves live entertainment and
live music” and feels like he has “the best
job in the world because he is able to “create
magical moments and memorable experiences
for live audiences.”
Experienced, trained security professionals,
who are licensed, and who have undergone
background checks and drug testing,
are the foundation of event security.
Detailed, comprehensive training is vitally
important for event security personnel.
Training methods include classroom
training, field training, hands-on simulation
training, table top exercises, workshops, E-learning,
certification courses, Guard Card
courses and annual refresher classes.
Event security is a dynamic sector that
demands that the security professionals
engage in extensive training which includes
how to deliver First Aid and CPR,
understanding the signs and symptom of
heat stress, how to handle attendee slips,
trips and falls, workplace fire safety, workplace
violence and active shooter, emergency
response and disaster planning,
hazardous materials and best practices for
arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters.
In addition, there is venue specific training
including crowd management that includes
technical and guest services skills,
line control, front of stage, ushers, roamers
and overall venue security and safety.
Training on how to effectively communicate
is of paramount importance. We call
this ‘verbal judo’ which is learning how to
stay calm in the midst of conflict, deflecting
verbal abuse, and offering empathy.
Supervisors essential. Event security
professionals should have an open line
of communication to their supervisors. A
10 to 1 ratio of security professionals to
supervisor is recommended to ensure that
there’s continual communication and that
expectations are exceeded.
Details, details and more details. Event
security entails far more than staffing the
venue with security personnel. The process
is complex and requires extensive coordination,
communication and advance planning. Every venue requires its own specific strategy and road-map
which includes extensive facility orientation.
Advance planning requires teamwork with the venue’s facility
management and local law enforcement to put together a “best
practices” methodology that can be used to address a myriad of
DHS Safety Certification
The ASIS safety certification program, which my company
has secured, is the first and only program of its kind to be
awarded a coveted Designation by the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering
Effective Technology (SAFETY) Act of 2002. The purpose of
the SAFETY Act is to ensure that the threat of liability does not
deter manufacturers of anti-terrorism technologies from developing
and commercializing new products that could significantly
reduce the risks or effects of terrorist events.
Companies that supply products and services that can be used
to detect, defend against, or respond to acts of terrorism can apply
for and receive coverage under the law. Event security firms
should declare their commitment to the DHS Safety Act by applying
and receiving this critical safety designation as it demonstrates
to clients that the company has a system of risk and liability
management benefits in place to providers of anti-terrorism
products and services.
Technology is constantly changing. Security supervisors put
into place a network of people, processes and technology to deter
and mitigate threats. Law enforcement is a partner with physical security
and may ask to access video footage. Today’s access control
includes biometrics with video analytics with facial recognition.
Video analytics is also able to measure and gauge crowd behavior,
detect suspicious packages, and instantly alert security
and law enforcement so that preemptive action can be deployed.
Social media platforms are monitored using specific key word
analytics to assess if there are any potential issues that are happening.
Security professionals and law enforcement are able to work
together to leverage multiple technologies and share information
to understand and mitigate potential threats.
Ultimately, it is vitally important to determine the policies
and procedures that are in place that allow security personnel,
law enforcement and other entities to effectively work together as
a blended team. Understanding what the policies and procedures
are for all concerned parties enables them to work cohesively to
better mitigate the risk for any and all types of threats.
This article originally appeared in the July / August 2020 issue of Security Today.